33 year-old Kevin Wilcox of Harpursville plead guilty to aggravated vehicular homicide this morning in Broome County Court. After the plea, Judge Kevin Dooley handed down a sentence of 5 to 15 years in prison. On March 11th, Wilcox drove a Jeep Wrangler under the influence of heroin onto the sidewalk of Beethoven Street striking 2 female pedestrians while they were walking home from playing tennis at Rec Park. 16 year-old Harper Stantz died of her injuries and her 19 year-old friend Britney Laserinko suffered serious injuries that left her unable to walk for a couple of months.
Following the plea, Laserinko, her mother, and Marty Stantz, Harper’s father made powerful victim impact statements to the court. Laserinko who approached the stand with a limp due to the metal rods and plates she had installed following her surgeries, says she is scared to walk or drive anywhere. She says she will never be able to forget Harper’s screams and continues to blame herself for not being able to save her.
Marty Stantz says the depression from losing a child consumes you. He says it pains him knowing Harper, who had a heart of gold, will never go to her prom, graduate high school, go to college and that he won’t be able to walk her down the aisle. He says Harper talked about being a mother one day and even had names picked out for her future children. Stantz added that he’s sure Wilcox never intended to run over the girls but he can’t think of a punishment that would fit the pain the act caused. He said he hopes Wilcox can overcome his addiction and do some good with whatever time he has left.
District Attorney Steve Cornwell says it’s hard to find a punishment fitting of the crime in cases like these. Cornwell says “How could you ever properly punish someone for this we can start there. But the law is not set up for life and I understand people’s concerns. Would I like to see him get life? Yes if that is what the law was. We also take into consideration the family and what their thoughts were. The families in this case were part of the discussion and the courts were part of it, and it was determined that 5 to 15 was appropriate. He’ll serve closer to the 15 it won’t be 5.” Wilcox addressed the court saying he thought his problems would never hurt someone else. He said he wishes everyday that he could take it back and that he is pleading guilty to accept responsibility for what he has done.
Before handing down the sentence, Judge Dooley said he can’t imagine a more innocent set of victims.